The Nigerian forward will miss the biggest football showpiece on the African continent, but he is about to be compensated with two club honours
Emmanuel Dennis is the favourite to pick up Watford’s Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards for December after the club nominated him for both honours.
Dennis was the standout performer during a difficult December that saw the Hornets continue their struggle for Premier League survival.
Despite Claudio Ranieri’s men losing all four EPL games played in that last month of 2021, Dennis still added three goals to his impressive stats.
The 24-year-old found the back of the net in the Golden Boys’ defeats to Chelsea, Brentford, and West Ham.
His three fine strikes against the Blues, the Bees, and the Hammers also made it into the five ‘best goal’ nominations.
It is still to be seen if winning the awards would be adequate compensation for Dennis, who missed out on Nigeria’s party to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Following a brilliant first half of the season in England and injuries to key strikers Victor Osimhen and Paul Onuachu, Dennis was expected to lead the Super Eagles’ attack at the Afcon.
But Watford blocked the 24-year-old from honouring his country’s call.
Initially pleased to have earned recognition among his countrymen back home, Dennis’ disappointment was evident during Watford’s New Year day clash against Tottenham.
The former Club Brugge star was hauled off at halftime following an uninspiring first-half display. The Hornets lost that tie 1-0, their sixth straight defeat after that memorable 4-1 victory over Manchester United in November.
Three-time Afcon champions Nigeria, an African football powerhouse, have picked up a medal at 15 of their 18 previous appearances at the continental championships.